Faithfulness is a sort of loyalty that exists only because of your faith.
- When you have faith that God will provide, you don’t waver in following Him while watching your bank balance decline.
- When you have faith that God will heal (whether in this life or the next), you faithfully continue walking with Him without becoming bitter, sometimes despite what you see in front of you (e., not being healed).
- When you have faith that your company is actually God’s company, you will continue working hard day after day—without worrying about the future, despite concerns over cash flow concerns or lifespan of the business. It’s His. He’s got this.
Faithfulness in the Scriptures
This is why the vast array of words for faithfulness used throughout the Scriptures are also translated as: truth, reliable, stable, loving kindness, firm, steadfast, verified, sure, bring up (as in raising up a child, which I can assure you requires loads of faithfulness!), and even nurse (yes, as in nursing a child; example: Hebrew aman – Ruth 1:16).
From this collection of words, you can see the way the Hebrews thought of faithfulness. They didn’t limit the word to what we in the 21st century would (too narrowly!) consider as spiritual things. Raising children well requires intense faithfulness, following the laws of the land require faithfulness, and starting a business requires faithfulness. B4T requires stick-to-it-iveness, follow through, or even grit; but it is nonetheless an act of faithfulness to keep going day after day.
By the time of the NT, faithfulness still had a lot of variety to it in terms of meanings and applications. The Greek word “pistis” (persuaded) is our word for faithfulness in Galatians 5:22, the fruit of the Spirit. Look under the hood, and you will find the word is the same word for “faith.” This is fascinating because faith and faithfulness have two different definitions in English. We get our typical definition of faith from Hebrews 11:1 – faith (pistis) is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Faithfulness, on the other hand, is a word we use to describe why we can always rely on God and how we should act/remain towards our spouses.
Faithfulness as a gift
You can easily tell how interactively the concepts are woven together when you think about it. It is the LORD’s faithfulness that inspires and draws our faith out of us. This is why we would say that faith is always a gift from Him. We can be fully persuaded to follow Him because He never lets us down, but we are only ever persuaded because He first displayed His faithfulness to us. It seems the NT authors wanted to use the root word and allow the reader/hearer to understand the connection.
Of course, the ultimate act of faithfulness in history is the Cross. On the Cross, the entire Old Testament began a long journey of being fulfilled—including, notably, the law and the prophets. Promises since Genesis 3 came to fruition on that beautiful terrible day. When Jesus died on the cross and rose again, He proved Himself worthy of our fullest persuasion (faith), so let us now be faithful in all our dealings—just as He is!
Greg is the President of OPEN USA. He used his education to work as a tentmaker in the Middle East for 8.5 years seeking to plant a church amongst a least-reached people group. Currently back in the USA with his wife and children, they aim to return to finish what the LORD used them to start.
To learn more about B4T, read Business for Transformation by Patrick Lai.